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Unions have a long, proud history of fighting for workers’ rights

in Social Issues by
Nine union members standing outside of the Central East Correctional Facility in Lindsay ON
Nine OPSEU members who work at the Central East Correctional Centre. Pictured are S. Dunn, M. Reade, R. Gilchrist, J. Guthrie, M. Sedgwick, S. Nelson, B. Bisso, K. Semple, and D. Troost. Photo: John Maclennan.

Few topics in politics are as divisive, even in polite company, as unionization. While Canadian courts have consistently upheld, and on more than a few occasions greatly expanded the rights of unions, affinity for organized labour has ebbed and flowed since the Royal Commission on the Relations of Labour and Capital said, “the man [person] who sells labour should, in selling it, be on an equality with the man [person] who buys it” in 1889.

The Royal Commission recognized the inherent power imbalance of industrial capitalism even as industrialization was creating an explosion in the size of the Canadian working class.
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Belonging to a union is good for your health

in Health/Social Issues by
Belonging to a union is good for your health

Living and working conditions are the primary factors that shape whether individuals stay healthy or become ill; they are much more important than biological markers or behavioural choices. This truism applies to just about every physical, mental or social affliction that one may encounter. The term social determinants of health (SDOH) has come to stand for these living and working conditions that include income, housing, food security, unemployment, job security and working conditions, as well as the health care system and the social safety net, among others. The health care, public health and civil society sectors all accept this conclusion.

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Benns’ Belief: Labour’s fight is our fight

in Opinion by
Labour

The full-time factory job that paid you a living wage in the early 1980s is a relic now. A person of the working class today or — dare I say it — those looking to join the middle class — cannot pay rent, buy food, have a car, or pay for insurance, and still have a little left over to feel human. That’s because, when accounting for inflation, real wages haven’t increased in nearly 40 years. People lurch from one gig job to another — and our youngest working generations have never experienced any other reality.

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Multiple bus cancellations could happen by Thanksgiving due to driver shortages

in Education by

Sinead Fegan, communications officer for the Trillium Lakelands District School Board, and Tim Ellis, superintendent of business, have shared publicly for the first time this week that the board’s transportation suppliers are finding it difficult to recruit bus drivers for fall 2020, and that this driver shortage may create serious issues later in October.

“Yes, currently the transportation operators are having an issue with finding drivers,” Fegan wrote in an email to the Advocate.

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ETFO reaches tentative agreements at central bargaining tables

in Education by
Catholic principals join call for slower re-opening

The Elementary Teachers’ Federation of Ontario (ETFO) has reached tentative central agreements with the Government of Ontario, the Ontario Public School Boards’ Association and the Council of Trustees’ Associations.

Separate tentative central agreements have been negotiated for ETFO’s teacher/occasional teacher and education worker members.

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ETFO to issue five days notice to boards for possibe rotating strikes next week

in Education by
Catholic principals join call for slower re-opening

Starting Wednesday January 15, the Elementary Teachers’ Federation of Ontario (ETFO) will begin providing the required five-day notice to school boards in anticipation of rotating strikes.

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Powerless guards mired in poor working conditions at Lindsay’s Super Jail

in Community/Health by
Powerless guards mired in poor working conditions at Lindsay’s Super Jail
“They are broken. Mentally broken. Some are suicidal, from a career in corrections.”

For the past couple months the Lindsay Advocate has been speaking to employees and former employees of Lindsay’s Central East Correctional Centre. Citing concern for their jobs (and privacy issues) all interviewees requested anonymity. We also spoke on the record to representatives of the union and to Ontario’s Solicitor General.

“We call them broken toys.”

“They are broken. Mentally broken. Some are suicidal, from a career in corrections,” says one retired correctional officer (CO), describing some of his former co-workers.

As an outsider with no experience with the prison system, I had of course expected stories from COs involving mental health. But I thought I would hear stories of trauma that come with having a job that involves providing custody and control for criminals (or those suspected of criminality): the ‘crazy stories’ of fights, drugs, rape and murder. What shocked me was that the more I spoke to COs (current and retired) the more I learned that the stress these people described was more often about policy, procedure and management then it was about the salacious things I had imagined.

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Local labour leader sees progress but says work isn’t yet done

in Social Issues by
For the record: What did Laurie/Jamie do? (Oct. 5, 2018)

James Mulhern, president of the Lindsay and District Labour Council, remembers the old Labour Day picnics they used to hold 22 years ago. About 10-15 people would show up and wave the flag for fairer wages and better working conditions.

Back then there were better jobs, though, it being just the start of the globalization and privatization wave across Canada and the U.S. that would gut massive numbers of good, full-time, middle class jobs.

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